The Philippines has indeed a rich cultural diversity. It is a country that possesses varied cultural influences that resulted from previous colonizations.
A rich aspect of our culture is Art. One of the art forms engraved in our culture is the traditional method of tattooing or “Pambabatok” that is native to the Cordillera Region. Luzon, being the largest island of the Philippines, is inhabited by a number of indigenous groups. These indigenous groups are known for their extensive tattoos and rituals especially the Northern Mountain tribespeople of the Cordillera Region.
Batok is used to enhance the beauty of women, men that choose to decorate their bodies with these ancient marks are seen as brave and courageous people in the society. Therefore, a Kalinga warrior who is heavily marked with these ancient tattoos commands a lot of respect and could make his enemies tremble in fear.
Pagbabatok is practiced by hand-tapping the ink into the skin using a thorn attached to one end of a stick. The thorn used is usually from a lemon plant and is called “Sait” in their dialect. The bamboo stick to which the thorn is attached is called “Gisi” and the short stick that is used for hand-tapping is called “Pat-ik”. The ink used is from soot or “Using”, mixed with a little water inside the coconut mixing bowl. A blade of grass is also used to create a pattern on the skin after it is dipped into the ink. After the pattern is drawn, the tattooing session will begin. The thorn needle is dipped into the ink and follows the pattern drawn before with a blade of grass. This is done by using a short bamboo stick with the thorn needle. The same pattern is followed until the whole ink is absorbed from the needle. This method is indeed a form of indigenous art as it utilizes indigenous materials as a medium for the creation of different artworks.
This "Pambabatok" were forgotten as time passed
by, but the good news is that there is one mambabatok who is still alive and despite her old age, she is still practising this ancient art and pass her knowledge about pambabatok to other women in the tribes. This Legendary mambabatok is Apo- Whang- Od .
As a Filipino, let us embrace the local but timeless Culture of Art the "Pambabatok", Let us spread the the Knowledge about this traditional Art in our fellow Filipino, as quoted
"#Mahalin ang sariling atin."
# Kilalanin ang Kulturang Filipino